2021 is about to tap out; I guess it was better than 2020, but was it really? It almost seems like 2020 was just to immerse us into our new normal, and 2021 was a test run to test scientific theories and our own personal abilities to deal with this crap.
I know I did some stuff this year that I had not done since 2019, so I guess things are improving, it is probably my own personal comfort level that I have to work on. This was my first complete year without my dog or a girlfriend, which is probably resulting in my becoming more of a wallflower again. We shall see.
Did you ever see the movie Memento? Well, I am slightly better than Leonard (the star) at remembering stuff, so I use my camera and my websites so I do not have to cover my body in tattoos to recall the past year.
Anyway, here is the Craft Beer Guy recap of 2021; what the hell did I do over the last 12 months? Continue reading
These photos were taken Friday evening at Ballast Point Long Beach; where I participated in something I have not been able to do in over two years, attend a beer dinner. A four course meal curated by Ballast Point R&D Brewer Chris Takeuchi, combined with the fact that I had yet to visit Ballast Point’s Long Beach location, made it a pretty easy decision to accept their invitation. Together with my friend Alexis, sales rep for Eureka Brewing Company, we braved the Friday night traffic for what would be a fun and tasty evening.
So, getting first impressions out of the way first, their parking lot is massive which should probably give you an indication of what to expect inside. With a little patience we ended up with one of the best parking spots short of having a handicapped placard.
When we entered I was pretty surprised at just how massive the place is. The fact of the matter is that I never even made it upstairs so it is literally twice as big as what I observed. On top of that they have an outdoor patio which I am sure is nice most of the time; last night would not have been a good time for outdoor dining (too cold). Continue reading
These photos were taken Monday evening at Abigaile Restaurant and Brewery in Hermosa Beach, where Head Brewer Josh McCombs teamed up with Executive Chef Tin Vuong, and Chef de Cuisine Mailyn Castillo to put on another of their series of beer dinners; this time being a delicious five course dinner (which was advertised as a four course meal) paired with beers brewed by McCombs.
The meal started off with an appetizer consisting of a roasted scallop on the half shell, with a nuac cham sauce made up of butter, parsley, and coriander. This was paired with McCombs’ Dim Wit Hefeweisen which really complemented the buttery texture of the scallop.
For round two we were served a Crisp Duck Arancini, stuffed with duck and mozzarella with a lemon pepper sauce (really tasty). This was paired with McCombs’ South Side Kolsch which balanced the richness of the arancini, and was enhanced by the lemon pepper sauce. Continue reading
These photos were taken Wednesday evening at Abigaile Restaurant and Brewery in Hermosa Beach, where Head Brewer Josh McCombs teamed up with Executive Chef Tin Vuong, and Chef de Cuisine Matt Sprister to put on a delicious six course dinner paired with beers brewed by McCombs.
The first course was their Apple-Chicken Liver on country toast with an onion confit paired with McCombs Hurley McSurley Pilsner. To be honest, when I saw this on the menu I was not sure I was even going to try it; I am glad I gave it a shot because it was amazing. It reminded me of when I attended PAIRED last year in Denver. I knew this was going to be a good night.
The second course consisted of their African Red Mango curried scallop with a tomato relish, which was paired with their Big Boss Brut IPA. The slight sweetness of the IPA went nicely with the scallop. Continue reading
On Tuesday evening, a couple dozen craft beer fans, social influencers and Guinness beer ambassadors met in Los Angeles at the Salt’s Cure restaurant to participate in the debut of the latest creation coming from Open Gate Brewery at St. James’s Gate, Guinness Irish Wheat.
Anyone that really knows me knows that my desert island beer is Guinness Stout, so whenever I am invited to try anything new from Guinness, you can be sure I will do my best to be there.
Guinness Irish Wheat is probably best described as a hefeweizen created with 100% wheat grown in Ireland and the same Guinness yeast found in every pint of Guinness Draught. My initial sip of Irish Wheat was crisp and seemed slightly lemony/citrusy flavor which was followed by subtle clove with a banana finish. My immediate thought was that this was the perfect time of year to release this beer as it comes across as very light compared to your standard creamy pint of Guinness; I was not the only one to suggest that this would be a very good beer to drink after mowing the yard or while grilling burgers and steaks in the back yard. I would go so far as to suggest that this might be one of the few beers I would consider drinking from a bottle at a barbecue. Continue reading
In March of 1996, the fledgling Firestone Walker Brewing Company out of Paso Robles, California released their first beer; DBA British Pale Ale. Thursday evening, 30 or 40 Firestone Walker fans met at Firestone Walker’s newest location, The Propagator, in Marina del Rey to celebrate DBA becoming of age, at the DBA Turns 21 beer dinner, hosted by Firestone Walkers first employee, Jeffers Richardson.
While we enjoyed a pour of Schwarzbier, a roasty German style black lager which was brewed at The Propagator by Ben Maushardt, Jeffers told us about the early days at Firestone Walker; go back as far as his initial job interview which involved babysitting a 5 year-old.
DBA, Double Barrel Ale, is often credit to being developed by Jeffers, but he gives full credit to Adam Firestone and David Walker as it was only because of their insistence that the beer be fermented using oak and stainless barrels, then blending them. It was obviously a great idea, and DBA has become not only a flagship brew for them, but it is also the base for several of their other beers. This beer dinner would celebrate the many uses of DBA as well as the beer itself. Continue reading
I guess the word has gotten out to the craft beer fans and foodies in the South Bay area; Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach is the place to be on the second Wednesday of the month for their outstanding beer dinners. These photos were taken at Jimmy’s July beer dinner last night featuring the latest production brewery to open in Torrance, Scholb Premium Ales.
When we first started attending Jimmy’s Beer Dinner Series back in September the attendance was probably about 30 people. In the months following the numbers fluctuated a little, but I don’t recall there being more than maybe 50 people at any of them. Yesterday afternoon, Jimmy’s announced on their Facebook page that they had sold out at 60 attendees. I guess not everyone got the message because by the time all was said and done they had over 75 attendees at the dinner. It really was a sight to see. Continue reading
When I stop to think about it, I only have two things that I do every month like clockwork. One is Business & Beer which we will be celebrating four years of in a couple weeks; that has the second Thursday of every month dedicated to it. The other, more recent addition to my routine are the beer dinners held the second Wednesday of every month at Jimmy’s Bar Grill in Redondo Beach. In the past we have enjoyed co-owner/chef Marc Dix’s delightful food pairings with beers from Smog City Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Avery, Bell’s Brewery and a night of Belgian ales. They have all been great experiences, but I admit I got a little giddy a month ago when I saw that Firestone Walker would be the featured brewery for this month’s beer dinner. As I started trying to guess what might be poured that night I knew one thing for sure, this was going to be a great meal; I was correct.
Joe Cartlidge, LA Market Manager at Firestone Walker Brewing Company, was there to give a little history of Firestone Walker while we enjoyed our welcome beer, Pivo Pils. I know Dix likes to open up our taste buds with a hoppy brew and the Pivo Pils did the trick. Continue reading
Wednesday evening we went to Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach for their monthly beer dinner; this month featuring Bell’s Brewery. As it was the one year anniversary of Jimmy’s first beer dinner, with Absolution Brewing Company, there was Bell’s Brewery swag and Jimmy’s gift cards for all the attendees. That was on top of what promised to be another outstanding meal.
I have mentioned before that Jimmy’s co-owner/chef Marc Dix puts a lot of thought into his pairings and Wednesday’s dinner was no exception. If you did not know, Dix is also a co-owner of the Barley Hops Grill and for this dinner he brought in co-owner/chef Alex Bouffiou to help out in the kitchen; and they did another great job.
As the dinners always consist of five beers and four courses, attendees were all welcomed with a Two Hearted Ale to wake up the taste buds; they were not going to want to miss a thing. Continue reading
These photos were taken Wednesday evening at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill monthly beer dinner. This month’s dinner was a little different than the others Jimmy’s puts on in that instead of featuring one brewery, it featured five breweries from Belgium. When it comes to beers from Belgium, probably one of the most knowledgeable local guys is Select Beer Store owner, Wes Jacobs. Anyone that has visited the Select Beer bottle shop has inevitably noticed the vast variety of Belgian ales they have available there. When Jimmy’s co-owner/chef, Marc Dix, decided he wanted to do a beer dinner featuring Belgian brews, because Belgians are meant to be served with food, it was not a difficult decision to approach Jacobs and ask if he wanted to curate the beer served.
Jacobs readily agreed and told Dix to provide the menu and he would come up with the beers; but that is not how Dix works, he tailors the food to compliment the beer. You will not find the dishes served at the beer dinners on the daily menu. That meant that the first thing that had to be done was to figure out what five beers would be served at the dinner. As you might imagine, that was quite a task in of itself. As I recall, it took about two months of sampling, with up to eight people assisting in the decision making process. Once the beers were chosen, Dix was able to do his thing; and did he ever. Continue reading